Wondrous Strange

Wondrous Strange

McClelland & Stewart | March 1, 2005 | 536 pages

Winner of the 2005 Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography, awarded by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) The first major biography of Glenn Gould to stress the critical influence of the Canadian context on his life and art. Glenn Gould was not, as has previously been suggested, an isolated and self-taught eccentric who burst out of nowhere onto the international musical scene in the mid-1950s. He was, says Kevin Bazzana in this fascinating new full-scale biography, very much a product of his time and place – and his entire life and diverse work reflect his Canadian heritage. Bazzana, editor of the international Glenn Gould magazine, throws fresh light on this and many other aspects of Gould’s celebrated life as a pianist, writer, broadcaster, and composer. He portrays Gould’s upbringing in Toronto’s neighbourhood of The Beach in the 1930s, revealing the area’s influence as a distinct social, religious, and cultural milieu. He looks at the impact of Canadian radio on the young musician, his relations with the "new music" crowd in Toronto, and the ways in which his career was furthered by the extraordinary growth of Canada’s cultural institutions in the 1950s. He examines Gould’s place within the CBC "culture" of the 1960s and ‘70s, and his distinctly Canadian sense of humour. Bazanna also reveals new information on Gould’s famous eccentricities, his sometimes bizarre stage manner, his highly selective repertoire, his control mania, his private and sexual life, his hypochondria, his romanticism, and his abrupt retirement from concert performance to communicate solely through electronic and print media. And finally, he takes a detailed look at the extraordinary phenomenon of the posthumous "life" that Gould and his work have enjoyed.

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ISBN: 9780771011177

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